Bright Mocksgiving Morn

The turkey is in, the house is clean, the pies are done and only slightly squished by non-edibility-impacting malfeasance. The cats are exploring the new living room configuration and the children are under strict instructions to play quietly without messing up their room.

I think, while I cook, a lot of you. And I feel grateful. So in a stolen moment between turkey and dishes, let me shrae some things I’m particularly grateful for this morning.

* The complete recovery of Tiberius-cat. Yesterday he got his feeding tube removed. He had gained weight since his last checkup, and is pretty much completely recovered. Fatty livery rarely recurs, so… for the most part we are simply done, after a very difficult month. I’m grateful that our hard work and love paid off with health.

* The long, joyful service of the pastor of my church. He’s an amazing preacher, excellent minister, kind person and rollicking honkey-tonk piano player. His only fault is in being an awfully hard act to follow.

* The embarrassing riches of friendship that are mine. I have few lonely moments. My life is filled with close friends, acquaintances, friends of friends. I have friends of long-duration, new friends, parent friends, single friends, geek friends, faraway friends and friends close enough that I sometimes forget to knock when I invite myself into their house at 9:30 pm. I never thought that this wealth of friends would be my lot, and still find myself looking in disbelief to discover it’s true.

* My work is so many of the things I want out of my labors. It is interesting, important and educational. Every day I have more to learn than I can master. I had the flexibility to take care of my cat, but I go to work every day feeling like I will have important things to do, and that I am growing in my career. It also allows me to afford things like veterinary care for my cat. It comes with a hard toll to pay in fatigue and absorption, but I try not to complain about getting what I have asked for.

*Finally, of course, my family. I love reading advice columns, and the stories I hear make me grateful of loving, thoughtful, undemanding parents and in-laws. My own little nuclear family is made up of people I find interesting, and whose company I enjoy. My sons are fun and funny and growing more independent. My husband is helpful, thoughtful, kind and loving.

As Calvin says, Halcyon days are usually only awarded retroactively. I do feel as though, perhaps, I’m in the midst of a halcyonic stretch myself right now.

A morning of thanks

Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday for me. For 11 years now, I’ve done a huge “feeding lots of people turkey” holiday at Mocksgiving. The result of this is that, despite my feeding-people, epicurian bent, I’ve never hosted the Family Thanksgiving. And now, of course, my inlaws are all pretty much in Atlanta and my brother considers Thanksgiving a weekend sacred to video games…. so. I don’t cook on Thanksgiving.

We’ve done a bunch of different things over the years. Back when I was young and judgmental, my husband’s family went out to dinner in a restaurant for Thanksgiving. The year Grey was born, we went back home. The first, only time I’ve been home for Thanksgiving since I left for college at 17. A few years we’ve done nothing. But I’m surrounded by awesome people, so when folks get wind of the fact we’re doing nothing, invitations appear. Several years, I went to the family Thanksgiving of a college friend. His mom is a fantastic cook, so I was sad when he moved out to California and it seemed… weird to invite ourselves without him. Last year and this year, friends from church have invited us. They have boys similar in age to ours, and are FANTASTIC cooks.

So Thanksgiving is a mellow, happy, friendly day. The last few years I’ve started a tradition of watching the Macy’s parade with the boys. I sleep in. Drink coffee. Don’t get dressed until noon. I rest. Relax. It might actually be the most relaxing day of my entire year.


Gratitude is an important part of not losing site of what’s important to you. I don’t do as great a job of it, but I’ve tried to teach my children to give thanks. Every night, as part of their going-to-bed, we have a prayer of gratitude. Grey usually just says that he’s thankful for “Everything in the universe”, although when pushed he’ll tell you he’s thankful for screens (DS, computer & TV).

But Thane has started this tradition now too, of gratitude. His favorite books are the How Do Dinosaurs books. He demands to know the names of all the dinosaurs. And of course, with the plasticity of a youthful brain, he remembers them. One of my ambitions this week is to get video of this. But at night, his litany of gratitude goes like this, Thane is thankful for … “Mommy, Daddy, Grey, Thane, Neovenator, Pachycephalasaurus, Protoceratops, Tapejara, Neovenator, Mommy, Daddy…” He can go on. It’s awesome!


One of the things I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving morning is that I have this venue to write down memories. Sometimes I look back at what was, and I’ve written down things I otherwise wouldn’t have remembered. I wouldn’t write if I didn’t know you would read this. I know this, since I tried for years pre-blogging. So thank you for being you, and reading what I have to say.

Thanks be

I’ve been reading a lot about happiness lately, and one theme that emerges is that stopping to take stock of what you are thankful for makes you happier. It makes sense — when you take the good things in your life for granted, you stop noticing them and their impact on your life. My own life is rich with blessing, and I try to stop regularly and notice it, appreciate it, and rejoice in my good fortune. So, without further ado, here are some of the things I’m grateful for in this season of reflection:

*My husband Adam, who is just getting better (and even better-looking — so unfair!) with age. He thinks of me with generosity and love. He’s funny and patient. He is active and engaged, and is always glad to be home with us. He is the love of my life, my solid partner in life’s serious challenges, and my goofy partner is life’s less-serious moments.
*My sons, who bring me not only joy and delight but a new vision into the world. I think perhaps the greatest reason to have children is to see the world anew and delightful through unjaded eyes. Grey is full of fun, affection, and terrible knock-knock jokes. He catches my breath with his perception of the life we share. Thane is my happy little curly-haired bopper. He wanders through life at knee-height talking to himself and shaking a toy. When he sees me, he comes running and lays his head against my shoulder in a gesture of trust and joy.
*The older I get, the more I realize that one family that doesn’t drive you nuts and whose company you enjoy is a blessing. TWO families (my own family and the one I married into) that do that is lightening in a bottle. I try never to take either one for granted.
*Some days it is hard to see and remember the grace of God. Happily, it remains present whether we engage with the almighty or not.
*I am profoundly aware that the things I take for granted are not givens — a home to live in, food to eat, a car to drive, my health. Even things like clean water and medical care are unavailable to far too many. I’m also so grateful for all those who are working to bring these most basic things to all God’s children, such as Path International.

Thus for the big serious underpinnings of my life. Now for the smaller things I’m grateful for.
*Coffee. Without coffee, my life would be a sadder, sleepier place. Mmmmm coffeee…..
*This blog. I really enjoy writing, but I would never do it so regularly if it weren’t for the feedback loop of having readers. On a weekday, I average between 50 – 100 readers. I suspect I personally know many of you, but I’m grateful you give me the opportunity to engage with you. (And hey, lurkers, feel free to comment! I don’t bite!)
*The view out the back windows of our house. It fills me with joy Every. Single. Time.
*A church where I feel needed and loved, whose halls I have come to walk as familiarly as my own home.
*Incredibly generous friends who invite us and our two small, destructive children to Thanksgiving dinner. (And who it’s just been so much fun to get to know better this year!)
*NPR “vacation” weeks, when there’s 50% less doom, gloom, destruction and health-care overhauls, and significantly more stories about ants wearing stilts.
*Audiobooks.
*Christmas. I love Christmas. I love it more every year.
*Those Carl Sagan remixes: http://symphonyofscience.com/. They make me tear up.

There are, I’m sure, a bajillion more blessings in my life. But those are some.

What about you? What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving eve?